Campground Review: Scenic Beach State Park, Washington
Why we chose here: We had a few weeks to spend on the Olympic Peninsula and wanted somewhere close to Bainbridge Island where we have family. This looked like a pretty place to spend a few days before heading to see them.
Location: The campground is close to the water but has no direct views. The tiny beach is a small walk away, and while small it is quite pretty.
Sites: There are over 50 sites here. A lot of them are huge, some of them the largest we have ever seen. Many are pull through, some are quite uneven, so make sure you have plenty of levels. The sites are heavily wooded so solar energy is hard to come by. All sites have a picnic table and fire rings - but given the forest fire issues Washington has a state wide burn ban in effect.
Facilities: There is fresh water, toilets, showers and trash. No recycling. There is a dump station on site.
Groceries: Nearby Silverdale has Trader Joe's and other supermarkets.
Reservations: Yes for all sites - I think this is a shame because it doesn't give spontaneous people a chance to take advantage of the parks. I wish they would follow the lead of other states and at least leave some sites first come first served. When we arrived on Sunday after a rainy weekend, we were the one of only a few people in the whole park apart from the hosts, despite the website showing the park was quite full.
Cell Coverage / WiFi: We had good signal with both AT&T and Verizon.
Price Paid: $30 a night for a basic site, plus reservation fee and non-state resident fee (AYFKM Washington?)
Date of visit: August 2015
Other: We had to cut our stay here early due to a family medical issue. When we tried to cancel our unused nights through the Washington Park system they told us we had to talk to the park rangers directly and they couldn't help us, despite their website saying they could. We never managed to talk to a live person at the park and no-one ever returned our messages. I wouldn't normally care as much but this experience just adds to my grievances with the Washington State Park system. Namely: it is expensive: I don't mind paying for premium beach locations, but they have the same fees for much less impressive spots. It's complicated - 6 types of sites: (economy, basic, premium with and without power) , 3 seasons (high, low and shoulder) in some parks, 2 season (high & low) in others and then a reservation fee for online booking, a different fee if you book by phone and fees for out of state residents. If you need a PDF with a 10 point font to explain your camping fees - it's too complicated. And finally no First Come First Served sites. As I said this leads to half empty campgrounds while other campers have to stay elsewhere.
Would we come here again? Yes, I would even though I do have a bit of a downer on the Washington State Park system. But this is a pretty spot and it's a shame we didn't get more time here.